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THE FINAL THREE LED ZEPPELIN REISSUES -TODAY IS THE DAY / ROBERT AND JOAN BAEZ/JIMMY ON RADIO 2/OVER EUROPE 1980/NME/DL DIARY UPDATE

30 July 2015 4,787 views 22 Comments

 

Toronto 3

The Final Three Led Zeppelin Reissues: Today is the day…

Today, Friday July 31, 2015, sees the official worldwide release of the final three Led Zeppelin reissues – Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda.

This is the culmination of a momentous total remastering of the entire Led Zeppelin studio catalogue complete with Companion Disc audio. As Jimmy Page remarked in my recent interview with him

”This has addressed the whole history of the studio work. Here’s the bottom line – it has doubled the output of what the studio situation was in the first place. From the beginning I knew that was possible and that is what it has been all about.”

It’s been a year long campaign of releases that has provided many a thrill for fans along the way – the live Paris 1969 performance, the alternate Whole Lotta Love, the previously unknown instrumental La La , the simply stunning first version of Since I’ve Been Loving You, the pure blues sparseness of Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind the instrumental beauty of The Battle Of Evermore and No Quarter, the vibrant run though of Sick Again, Everybody Makes It Though – the enlightening alternate In The Light – to name but a few…

Now comes the final flurry and what a prospect there is in store…

Again, as Jimmy put it during my interview:

”Happy listening…you are in for some surprises. They are what they intended to be – a companion to the master audio of the original catalogue. It was an ambitious project and it’s good to arrive at the end of it and it ticks all the boxes.”

From today, fans across the world will be unboxing and unwrapping the various configurations of the three albums – and all with the same expectation and delight.

Indeed, some fans have already been in receipt of these final three reissues and have already sampled the delights to be had. My copies are in the house and it’s a very exciting prospect ahead.

unboxing july 29 one

So let’s be under no illusion – this is one of the most joyous periods ever to be a Led Zeppelin fan. An abundance of newly remastered music to embrace, analyse and enjoy.

The TBL website comments and Facebook platforms will be open for you to report back on your findings of this final reissue frenzy. Pics of where you purchased them, unboxing, retail displays and your thoughts on the remastering, Companion Disc content etc, are all very welcome.

Send them along to the usual TBL destinations – ie TBL Facebook, website or direct to me on email at davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com.

And in the end…

To paraphrase something I wrote at the beginning of this reissue journey…

These unique listening experiences has been created by one man…

Whilst of course Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were collectively responsible for creating this catalogue of timeless music.. it has been Jimmy Page’s vision and diligence that has brought this reissue project to fruition.

As we have heard explained in the many interviews he has conducted, Jimmy has painstakingly remastered (with John Davis’ invaluable assistance) and searched out the additional material that has told us so much more about the creative process that went into making these albums what they are.

Oh yes the interviews…has any musician worked so tirelessly hard, given so freely of his time and conducted himself with such grace and dignity as Jimmy Page has during the lead up to these releases as Jimmy Page…I think not. Jimmy is in Japan talking up this reissue journey yet again as I write. The campaign has been relentless.

Hearing him talk with such enthusiasm and passion – something I have been so fortunate to experience first hand, only enhances our understanding of why we as fans, invest so much of our own time in this wonderful band…

His pride is our pride…

 As Jimmy put it: Happy Listening…

Dave Lewis July  31, 2015

……………………………..

The Unboxing:

The unboxing of the final three reissues is an awesome prospect.  The super deluxe box sets are a true work of art – I’m surprised how sturdy they – they just look absolutely awesome – just gazing at them makes me feel forever young because  Led Zeppelin  have been the soundtrack to my life for 45 years and I’ve been writing about them for the past 30 years – and these reissues as previously  mentioned feel like a renewal of the vows I made as a fan all those years back.

unboxing three

I intend to saviour every moment of this exploration of these final three Led Zeppelin Reissues – and that process will unfold over the next few day or so…so more of my initial thoughts will follow…and I look forward to hearing your experiences as you receive your copies of the final three Led Zeppelin Reissues

As I say, this unveiling cannot be rushed – so far I have only assessed the Presence album  – re acquainting myself with the seventh Zep album and getting right into the Companion Audio. The packaging is again exquisite .My thoughts on it all are below.

Then I’ll be collating my subsequent thoughts on the In Through The Out Door and Coda reissues.

I want to devour every nook and cranny of these releases and the way to do it is thoroughly and carefully album by album – I advise you do the same as like me, I am sure you will want to savour every moment of this unique listening experience….

So without further ado…

TBL Celebrates the release of the final three Led Zeppelin reissues:

Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda:

Reflections of my life…

So to set the scene here are some personal thoughts of my own on the final three Led Zeppelin albums…

Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda:

Reflections of my life…

In many ways these are my three favourite Led Zeppelin albums. I absolutely lived and breathed the run up to their releases, their eventual delivery and their aftermath.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t fervent about the previous Zep releases – I of course was – but Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda were created and released during my late teens and early 20s. Impressionable years, sometimes difficult years as I found my niche in life…and as we know these were difficult Led Zeppelin albums – and Led Zeppelin albums were the soundtrack to my life. Simple as that.

The songs on each album were my inspirations as love affairs went wrong and right, new friendships were forged and something of a career path unfolded in my job in record retailing. The fact is Led Zeppelin was my guiding light and therapist all in one.

In the six years that spanned these three albums, I went from a starry eyed fan to being asked to meet with Jimmy and Robert at Swan Song to offer some input to the sleeve design of what would become the Coda album.

In between all that, there was the creation of Tight But Loose a platform of communication between like minded fans, a waving off of all of them at Heathrow Airport for the second leg of the 1977 US tour, plus those two memorable weekends out in that field in Stevange, the incredible rush of being in close proximity (on the side of the stage!) for some of their performances in Europe in the summer of 1980 and the ultimate tragedy of John Bonham’s passing that would fundamentally change their lives and mine forever.

This was indeed not just a band but more a way of life – a way of life often dictated by the ups and downs of this inspirational band of musicians who I had long decided would be a substantial part of my own DNA.

So let’s begin with Presence…

Presence Then…

For me personally the Presence album is and always be tangibly associated with my own circumstances of the time. Playing out my own soap opera, as an impressionable 19 year old caught up in my first love affair played out to the soundtrack of the new Led Zeppelin album.    

Back in early August 1975 we were still bathing in the warm afterglow of Earls Court. That feeling was promptly curtailed when the news came through via the national press here that Robert had been involved in a serious car smash on the Greek island of Rhodes.

It was in early September that I read in Rolling Stone that the band had decamped to Malibu to aid Robert’s recovery – and were planning to write and rehearse for a new album. Subsequent news reports had them sighted on stage in an ad hoc performance in Jersey. There was also the report in NME that they had recorded a new album in Musicland Studios – in a mere three weeks and it would be released in early 1976.

So in January 1976, I rang the Swan Song office in London to find out a release date and more details. March was sited – the Melody Maker ran a news story not long after that the album would be titled Obelisk and released in February. They were on the right lines with the title –as we know an obelisk would be the distinctive feature of a simply bizarre cover design.

Before all that, Robert Plant had given some good to be alive interviews in New York. He mentioned one track to be titled Achilles Last Stand ”You know immortal but for the heel -or for being a heel. I mustn’t joke about it because I’m very proud of it”. 

The very nature of the title laid down its credentials – I just knew it was going to be an epic. In his review of the Presence album in Sounds, Jonh Ingram declared it would be ”A motherfucker live”. Both these forecasts would prove to be entirely correct.

Jimmy Page’ s press interview for the album staged in March were equally positive. ”It really does sum up a period for the band .A little bit of the past, a little bit of the future”.

Achilles Last Stand was indeed an epic – as I was to find out on the evening of Saturday April 3 1976. Alan Freeman had played the entire album on his Saturday afternoon show – alas I was working that day but we taped it and – the first time I heard that opening salvo unfold was in a car travelling the byways of Bedfordshire on a bright spring Saturday evening.

It sounded like something from another planet. It sounded simply magnificent.

I still have that original BASF tape. Somehow it sounded more impressive than the LP. I think it may be a slightly different mix – and there is a slight edit in Royal Orleans. During that broadcast, Alan Freeman let the whole album run without gaps or links between the tracks – there is some noticeable surface noise in evidence indicating it may have been an acetate playing.

Upon its arrival in the record department of WH Smith where I worked, Presence caused a sales rush I’d not seen in the store since – well the release of their last album Physical Graffiti. The store had a side window and that space was reserved for an entire display of the album put in by the WEA display team. How I wish I had taken a photo of that window and the bemused reaction of passers-by as they gazed a the Higpnosis sleeve design in some bewilderment.

The WEA rep that called on the WH Smith store also kindly arranged for me to receive a stand up counter display and hanging mobile – ordered direct from Swan Song in New York.  What a moment that was when it arrived and after it’s use in the shop, it was to eventually appear in my Zep shrine of a bedroom. See hanging mobile in said bedroom shrine below…

pg dl 2

A week after the release of Presence, we went to London on a Saturday to hang around the Kings Road Swan Song office -just to be near their aura -it’s what I did back then! I remember peering into the basement window of the office and seeing a poster for the album framed.

Presence went on to become our soundtrack of that very hot summer of 1976.

On in the mini bus when we went to see The Who at Charlton Athletic football ground, out on the Phillips portable cassette player by the bank when we swam in the river.

I also took the album to every party we went to including one memorable 18th birthday party of a friend staged at a sedate village hall Here the pulsating tones of Achilles Last Stand momentarily replaced the more dulcet tones of The Real Thing’s current disco smash You To Me Are Everything – much to the astonishment of the rather less rock orientated young ladies to be found dancing around their hand bags!

I also made a rather bizarre Presence fashion statement. In November ,when it came to showing my colours as it were in dressing up to attend The Song Remains The Same film premiere at London’s Warner West End (where we had queued overnight to get tickets), I came up with a rather novel idea. The cardboard black obelisk Object that had come with the aforementioned hanging mobile was strung arund my neck to join the Page like white scarf I was wearing. It must have looked faintly ridiculous though Jimmy seemed impressed when I thrust it his way when they came up the stairs to take their seats at the cinema that night!

Unsurprisingly, bits of cardboard obelisk mixed with scarves did not catch on around the Kings Road. However, my empathy for the seventh led Zeppelin album did not wane one bit.

The release a mere six months after Presence of The Song Remains The Same, did overshadow the Presence album for a while. I was all over the live soundtrack and subsequent screenings of the film – but when I returned to it a year or so later, Presence still sounded the business.

In the intervening years, I’ve remained incredibly loyal to Presence, often justifying its greatness in print and in the pub!

It was one of the first Zep albums I acquired on CD around 1988 and by then, it had become my near fave Zep album.

I for one was not surprised when at the 02 reunion, the previously unplayed live For Your Life enjoyed all the plaudits it so deserved as being one of the evening’s undoubted highlights. I’ve always had a great affinity for that track.

Presence sleeve

I have a fair few copies of this album, including one that retains the shrink wrap –and another that has an inscription by Aubrey Powell the co-designer of the sleeve –this says ‘’What’s that obelisk exactly?’’ –a reference to the mysterious sleeve. This was signed for me when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant video in 2005. Recently I’ve picked up a Chile pressing with a single sleeve and full title and track listing sticker. I also have a copy signed by Jimmy Page.

So to the album:

The thing about Presence  is that it was the product of adversity. On the run from the UK tax system, Plant injured in a car accident, tour cancelled, all energies quicky funnelled into making an album as quickly as possible.

For Jimmy Page,this adversity spurred on a surge of creative drive.

It was an act of defiance and protection. Their whole existence as a band was now in question. Plant’s car cash had rendered them unable to perform live –  something they had always taken for granted. Page suddenly became the absolute leader again. It was at that point he must have realised above all the craziness that surrounded them, it was the band, the music and the ability to perform together that was the whole reason for being in Led Zeppelin. Indeed for him inventing Led Zeppelin in the first place.

That realisation ignited Page’s creative muse and motivation to the extent that he wanted the album to be completed quicker than anything they had recorded since the debut album. His reaction was to take a firm hand grip of the Munich recording sessions, leading them in much the way he had at Olympic in 1968, many of the arrangement occurred in the studio as they were recording. When the studio time ran over, he wrapped it up with a massive overdub session with engineer Keith Harwood.

That urgency and spontaneity made for little time for the experimentation of the past.

For on Presence there are no boogies with Stu, no hat’s off to Harper’s. No funk or reggae parodies – no mellotrons or synths. Just full on full power Led Zep. The basic bass/drums/guitar/vocal approach gives the record a very live feel – leading to my conclusion that Presence is the nearest they got to capturing over a complete studio album, the unpredictable edge and power of their on-stage performances.

It’s also stock full of Jimmy Page’s genius guitar rages. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are all as good as anything he has ever applied himself to.

Given the circumstances it was recorded under, this seventh Led Zeppelin album was an amazing achievement – it’s an album that reflects the real heart and soul of Led Zeppelin.

Presence Now:

unboxing four

So to this new remaster – and as was the way with Physical Graffiti, I played it through non stop at full blast. Sound wise, it has the same new sheen that has characterised the previous reissues.

Achilles retains the majesty and mystery that so transfixed us way back.

For Your Life has that undeniable dark lyrical edge has it grinds its way through its six minute duration. The Page solo here still sounds like one of his best …maybe THE best – unfolding with incredible venom.

Royal Orleans is full of funk on a lighter level punctuated by Page Jones and Bonham pounding out the riff, over which Plant unfolds the humorous story of road fever goings on in a New Orleans hotel. Bonzo’s conga drumming is right to the fore half way through and benefits greatly from this new remaster.

Over on side two, Nobody’s Fault But Like Mine is graced with an startling introduction as good as any track anywhere. For all their early blues musings they never dressed up an old blues tune more inventively than when they re wrote Blind Willie’s Nobody’s Fault. Lemon squeezing Delta dealings merge with Page’s sonic guitar technology. Masterful. 

In the 50s singer Ral Donner skit Candy Store Rock, we find them just turning themselves on – playing on a 50s groove in the manner they approached the countless off the cuff juke box faves within many a Whole Lotta Love live medley. On the new remaster this a revelation – as the echo effect of Plant’s vocals zip right across the speakers.

The pure intuitive swing of Hots On For Nowhere reflects its very live in the studio construction and as Charles Shaar Murray so astutely noted in his NME review of the time, brings to mind ”What Glenn Miller would have sounded like if he had played in a murderously heavy four piece rock band”.

Leaving the understandably downbeat Tea For One, a slow blues reflecting plant’s hurt at being away form his family. ”Time goes very slowly when you cant kick a ball or kick a roadie even kick your drummer so time has been the teacher and I’ve been the pupil” he noted at the time.

Summary: This new Presence remaster only goes to emphasis how great an achievement this seventh Led Zeppelin album was, and is. A crucial album in the catalogue which will rightly attain many accolades in the coming days and weeks. Folks – you are going to absolutely love this one…

 Companion Audio Disc Content:

pres_invert_(257x257)

So to the Companion Disc Audio content:

 For Your Life (Reference Mix) 6.28

As the riff halts each time, there’s a pronounced echo effect. Altogether a  denser mix. At 3 mins 18 additional vocal nuances from Robert. Again the overdubs are more upfront. The solo is an alternate version – the final stinging one has yet to be added. This one bends and twists on to the canvas creeping up on the listener in the process. Always on the edge…and essential in any mix..

10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix) 6.48

Opens with low key piano from John Paul Jones. Instantly reminded me of the JPJ piano concerto type solos applied to the live versions of No Quarter in 1975 notably at Earls Court. The plaintive piano arrangement also recalls to mind his playing on Ice Fishing At Night on The Thunderthief solo album.

Mournful, forlorn and reflective, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. Jimmy drifts in at 2mins 39 with some minor descending electric strumming, quite possibly courtesy of the Telecaster B bender. Behind all that there’s an acoustic guitar – all very autumnal and Ten Years Gone- ish. Then John Bonham enters at 3 mins 01 and like Jimmy says, it will make you smile – it might even make you cry. It all leads on to something of a crescendo in an All My Love outro tempo.

So Jonesy did take the piano out of the flight case for the Munich recordings – it’s emergence throws a new light on what had previously thought to be an  18 day frenzy of guitar, bass and drums arrangements.  There was indeed some subtly going on down at Musicland Studios and here it is. One for the theorists indeed – but one things for sure, with a suitable Plant lyric this has all the makings of a classic Zep romantic offering in the Ten Years Gone/In The Light vein. An absolute revelation.

Royal Orleans (Reference Mix) 3.01

A‘3-4’ count in and hi-hat from Bonzo and we are off for a reference mix that features a very different vocal delivery to the officially released version.

Contrary to what I initially thought, this is NOT a John Paul Jones vocal but Robert Plant applying the lyrics in a harsh bluesy manner which reminded me of Dr John. The final gruff snarl at 2.52 of ‘Oh whiskers’’ brings to a close a very unorthodox Plant vocal performance. Robert taking on the role of the New Orleans night tripper…

Hots On For Nowhere (Reference Mix) 4.47

Both the vocal and bass are much more upfront in the mix which makes for a grittier texture. There are no vocal overdubs on the outro section just Roberts ‘Oh- ho-ho’’ – right through to a full ending after Jimmy’s guitar part as Robert adds a final ‘’Aha oh- oh- ho’’ phrase. Still swinging without the overdubs…

Which leaves one performance left to dissect: 

 Ones Are Won (Achilles Last Stand ( Reference Mix) 10.28

The vocal track is more upfront and with less echo and sheen making for a different texture to the vocal. The stereo effect of the guitar overdubs has a slightly different resonance. Slightly alternate overdubs in the mix at 5 min 53. The ‘’I know the way, know the way, know the way’’ overdub has yet to be added.

On the ‘’Aha aha-a’’ Robert refrain, Jimmy plays right along with the vocal creating a call and response sparring effect. At 9 mins 12, there’s an extra Robert vocal croon and more echo effects – all leading to a more defined   jangling Page finale. The guitar army cometh – and the grandiose just got even more grandiose…

So let me leave this overview of  Presence on an Achilles note. 

So much has happened since I first heard that epic performance for the first time some 39 years ago on a spring Saturday evening. In a world where the only thing that’s constant is change, for me Achilles Last Stand still acts as something of a standard bearer of their music.   

The defining moment of the defining band…and now the final mesmeric chord progression performed by Jimmy Page at the close of a Led Zeppelin masterpiece, marches relentlessly on in this new remaster of the Presence album – still searching for that place to rest the search….  

 ”Where the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth”

Dave Lewis – July 31, 2015

 ………………………….

 Robert Plant and Joan Baez on stage:

joan baez

This report from Ultimate Classic Rock:

Robert Plant and the Sensational Spaceshifters were in the midst of a hypnotic version of “Little Maggie” at Switzerland’s Paleo Festival when a special guest bounded on stage. Joan Baez can be seen in the video above, at about the four minute mark, last night (July 25) in Nyon, Switzerland.

She wasn’t there, however, to add any signature folk-tinged vocal – or even to segue into a duet on “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.” Instead, we see a red scarf-wearing Baez taking part in a happy-go-lucky jig with the former Led Zeppelin frontman. Of course, the chipper “Little Maggie,” a stand-out cover song from Plant’s current release Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar, is uniquely suited for this fun little aside.

Led Zeppelin fans will recall that it was Baez who brought the song “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” to wide notice. Her version of the track appeared on Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1 some seven years before it was featured on Led Zeppelin I. Baez and Plant were memorably honored at the Americana Music Association Awards in 2008, as well.

Baez was apparently side stage after finishing a set earlier in the day at the Paleo Festival. Plant and Baez continue their current live dates on Monday, July 27. He plays with the Sensational Spaceshifters at Theatre Romains de Fourviere in Lyon, France, while she is set to perform at the Castle Amphitheatre in Wiltz, Luzembourg.
Read More: Watch Robert Plant Dance a Jig With Joan Baez | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/robert-plant-jig-joan-baez/?trackback=tsmclip

Read More: Watch Robert Plant Dance a Jig With Joan Baez | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/robert-plant-jig-joan-baez/?trackback=tsmclip

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Jimmy Page on BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright show:

steve wright

Jimmy was featured on the Wednesday edition of the popular Steve Wright BBC Radio 2 show. An excellent interview – Jimmy sounding very relaxed and informative and very proud of it all: Steve Wright was also  great in keeping it flowing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_two

Other interview clips;

Rolling Stone http://t.co/mqcd1d7Zm8

Radio.com http://t.co/XLplmDBTSi http://t.co/FH2GgSwXND

Thanks James Cook  at  LZNews

Jimmy has been in Tokyo this week for the final media interviews including a press playback. He also made a visit to Hiroshima and met with the Mayor. There are some very moving photos of this visit on Ross Halfin’s website dairy entry for July 30.

Note this quote from David Fricke’s interview with Jimmy in Rolling Stone:

Jimmy Page can tell you exactly when he will become a solo artist again: on August 2nd, right after the Led Zeppelin guitarist concludes his year-long deluxe reissues of the band’s studio albums with the July 31st release of expanded editions of 1976’s Presence, 1979’s In Through the Out Door and the 1982 compilation, Coda. On August 1st, “I’ll wipe my brow, lay in bed and read the paper,” Page says with a grin in a New York hotel room. The next day, “I’ll pick up the guitar, and I won’t stop from that point on.

“I’ve got new material,” he insists. “I’ve played guitar in so many different styles, and I want to revisit them all.”

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jimmy-page-wraps-led-zeppelin-reissues-with-a-bang-20150729#ixzz3hJaU90EK

Jimmy is also on the Stuart Maconie show on BBC6 Music on Friday July 31 from 1pm

Vic Morgan Late Show BBC Radio Devon:

I was to be heard waxing lyrical about the Reissues and more on the Vic Morgan show on BBC Radio Devon last night -listen again link at

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02x4phy#play

I can be heard from 1.10 to 1.32.

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Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 – 35 Years Gone:

This summer marks the 35th anniversary of the final Led Zeppelin tour – a low key 14 date trek taking in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria and Switzerland. To begin a month long celebration of that final tour, I have reduced the price of the Feather In the Wind book for a limited period to just £8 plus postage and packing.

This is a fantastic opportunity to invest in the definitive account of the tour at a bargain price – yet more Led Zep summer 2015 reading.

For those who have yet to indulge, to give you a flavour of the contents – this is an extract from chapter three of the book. Rejuvenation Over Europe: Up Close and Personal.

Over E 7

This is my overview of the gigs that I caught – this extract picks up the on stage action in Munich for what would be their penultimate show with John Bonham…

When the house lights dim some 15 minutes later, I get the most incredible buzz from hearing the Wembley-like roar that echoes around the Olympic Hall. And there they are, walking the 30 yard stretch from the dressing room area up on to the stairs that lead to the stage. Ushered by torchlight and led as ever by manager Peter Grant. Bonzo is flanked by the ever present Rex. He’s shaved his beard (“I always do for the summer” he tells me later) and looks very much like he does in the concert part of the movie. He also looks nervous, and at this moment I can’t blame him.

Jimmy is stumbling his way through, once again wearing that baggy suit I first saw in Cologne. Robert strides forward head aloft, a bottle of orange juice in his hand, smiling. John Paul Jones does an Ali-like shuffle up to the stairs.

Seconds later Munich sees Led Zeppelin and the roar is frightening.

So too is the awesome power of the opening numbers Train Kept A Rollin’ (“And it kept on rollin’ ”) and Nobody’s Fault But Mine. It’s when they crunch down on numbers like these that you get into perspective the power that they can create.

Something like Nobody’s Fault with all its stop-gap acappella and soloing, has to be punctuated by the rhythm section at just the right moments. If Bonzo or Jonesy drop one or stitch one it would totally throw out the up-front euphoria of Jimmy and Robert… but they get it right every time and it makes me gasp in amazement. That power, which so easily could weigh them down, is manipulated with effortless ease, and it sounds so right. “No-no-no-no-no-no-no-no body’s fault.” Crunch! Jimmy winds it up, but then Jimmy winds it up every night.

Of course, one of their great assets is the ability to balance that power and shift into passionate, emotion-filled diversity. After Black Dog and In the Evening, they display this perfectly when performing Rain Song with all its shimmering double neck virtuoso playing from Jimmy, and on All My Love too, probably the best received song throughout the tour. You can actually hear the audience singing along on the chorus tonight. Of course, they’ve all got the album, and the dream of it being performed live is turning to reality with every movement of Robert’s outstretched arms, Jonesy’s string symphony, Jimmy’s emotive solo and Bonzo’s anchor man drumming.

“Eye thank yew” says Robert, taking this particular crowd through an unfamiliar sketch. Hot Dog has the boy doing his barn dance speciality and John Paul Jones adds some accurate piano work. During Trampled Underfoot Jimmy really lets loose. Pulling the most incredible notes from the Gibson, steely solos, juicy wah wah effects, you know, the whole works, and Robert loves it. Dancing his two-step across the stage, grinning and looning. “Push” indeed. Since I’ve Been Loving You is another Jimmy showpiece and it’s apparent how well this song has matured over the years, having been written something like a decade ago.

“James Patrick Page guitar! This is the first tour we’ve done in three years and it’s been quite an interesting sketch actually.” (Roars from the audience) “One more night then… who knows; maybe we’ll do this again very quickly; maybe not.”

Achilles Last Stand follows that speech. I close my eyes and it’s like being in a 1976 time warp. It’s got that sort of atmosphere having been recorded here in forced circumstances, and it still retains a sense of melodrama (right down to the point Robert echoes the “Atlas” line and leaves Jimmy to stalk the stage in time with the revolving, closing chord passage, flanked by a blue spotlight). After Jimmy’s White Summer/Black Mountain Side interlude, Kashmir explodes forth and Robert unleashes every ounce of drama from within the lyrics. Other highlights include that marvellous “Woman talkin’ to ya” ad lib; the combination of the two front men’s visual tactics; and finally Bonzo’s drumming – “Moby Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick” Robert teases.

Munich2(2)

Unannounced as usual, Jimmy plays two chords and as those two chords echo around the Olympic complex they’re soaked up by the Munich people and thrown back with a most volcanic-like roar that signals the anthem. “Does anybody remember laughter?” asks Robert on cue and, judging by the reaction, I think they do. Soon after, he’s thrown the tambourine and stands there arm outstretched in classic pose. Behind him Jimmy rips out that solo. By the end of Stairway to Heaven, Zeppelin receive an ovation that sounded like they’d scooped gold, silver and bronze in every event going.

“München… Goodnight!”

The band leave the stage, and Phil from Bad Co. and Mick Hinton proceed to set up Simon’s drum kit to the side of the stage near John Paul Jones’ keyboards. The audience look puzzled. Back come the group for the obligatory encore of Rock And Roll which crushes the hall.

After this, Robert announces to the crowd: “Please welcome an old friend of ours from Bad Company, Simon Kirke!” Simon walks on, takes to the kit, does a few snare beats and before we know it the five man Led Zep are into Whole Lotta Love. This, I haven’t seen before. Incredibly though, it works! Even though this jam had been totally unrehearsed, Simon gets all the breaks right, with eyes fixed on Bonzo, and the sound is sizzling hot. Jimmy joins in on the vocals for the chorus, and then proceeds to fiddle about on theremin, battling with Robert’s vocal interplay. The famous five grind on into the Let That Boy Boogie segment and then it’s on to the home straight, Simon filling in, complimenting Bonzo’s hammerings.

At the close they all take a bow – “Thank you… oh, and welcome back on stage Simon!” Finally they leave the stage, grinning, sweating and satisfied. While the Munich mania continues, the band are already speeding towards the Hilton hotel.

A couple of hours later, the Hilton’s plush bar is doing hectic business in trying to satisfy the thirst of the Zeppelin entourage.   Everyone’s here tonight. Bonzo, Robert and Jonesy are already propping up the bar, and not long after, Jimmy completes the line up. “Where’s Robert?” exclaims James, ambling down the stairs anxious to find his buddy.

Robert is holding court. His energy is phenomenal. Even after tonight’s exhausting show he’s still full of life. He holds up his hand to me forming a circle with his thumb and finger, signifying that the evening had been spot on. “Great tonight wasn’t it?… and Simon, well it was such a driving rock ‘n’ roll, I couldn’t believe it. Two drummers, I mean really!”

John Bonham is also well pleased. “Overall, everyone has been dead chuffed with the way the tour’s gone. There were so many things that could have gone wrong. It was a bit of a gamble this one, but it’s worked really well.” I enquire what the next move will be. “A holiday!” replies the beardless Bonzo. “We wanna keep working. There’s lots of possibilities and of course we want to do England. It’s down to a management decision really and we will have to talk about that when we get back.”

As the night progresses, the booze continues to flow, and everything gets a little hazy. Before I crawl back to my room, I can dimly recall Robert singing along to the chorus of Walking On The Moon, cries of “Eye Thank Yew” at regular intervals, and rapping with him about time, the wheel that rolls on… long into the night.

Sunday: the tour is winding to a close. Just one more gig in Berlin tomorrow and then it’ll be back down to the Golden Lion and a bit of English sanity. For me, today is a leaving day. The Spirit of Albion is calling once again. Down in the lobby just as I’m checking out, I literally bump into Jimmy Page as he’s trying to open a loo door! Last words, then James: “Yeah last night was the nearest feeling to that of the big American shows. Just so much energy there – How long did we play for? I tell him 2 ½ hours. “That’s about right isn’t it? We had to get rid of some of the effects really, I mean, it was difficult trying to get a leak in during Dazed And Confused!. I thought it was really exciting last night, really exciting.”

So that’s it. Fond farewells have been exchanged, luggage packed and the taxi ordered. Just as I’m about to leave I notice Fritz Rau again. He’s greeting the Santana crew who are booking in for their gig. For Fritz it’s just another rock ‘n’ roll band from where-ever… I’ll tell you one thing though; I bet he never thought Led Zeppelin were just another rock ‘n’ roll band, during their tour. Led Zeppelin are never just… anything. That’s why they’re special. That’s why they’re here still.

But earlier in the year, even I was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to get back on the road after the silence that followed Knebworth. This tour though, has taken them into the 1980s. Things may change for Zeppelin, but it’s their ability to retain the essence of their existence (ie. their roots), that helps keep it fresh. Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 has been a return to the people. It’s a period of intense activity they all desperately needed. It’s been a rejuvenation, and above all it’s been fun.

It leaves Led Zeppelin in a very healthy position. They’ve still got it and they still care.

Boys… ”Eye Thank Yew… ”  Dave Lewis, July, 1980.

Over Europe for tbl

Extract from the book Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind – Over Europe 1980 by Dave Lewis.

 SPECIAL 35TH ANNIVERSARY BARGAIN LOW PRICE!

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Over Europe tour this summer – for a limited period the price of the Feather In The Wind book has been massively reduced – the book price is now just £8 plus postage and packing – a massive saving of £17 on the cover price.

Book ordering Details:   http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/books-t-shirts/led-zeppelin-feather-in-the-wind-over-europe-1980-book/

…………………………………

Last News Stand – Goodbye paid for NME:

I did something today that I first did in 1970 – and I won’t be able to do again.

I purchased a copy of the UK music weekly the NME or New Musical Express to give it it’s full title.

nme last stand

The long running music weekly is being revamped as a giveaway freebie form September – this week’s issue will be the final paid for edition.

It bring to a close the dynasty of the UK music weeklies as the NME along with Melody maker, Sounds,Record Mirror and Disc were once vital reading matter with circulations in the hundreds of thousands.

For me, the NME was always the most essential. In terms of finding about the news of your rock and pop faves, the NME had it covered.

When it came to Led Zeppelin they did a sterling job in covering the band right up to 1980. I’ve actually been reading the NME since 1964 as there was always a copy in our house – I started buying in 1970 During the 1970s NME t was absolutely essential reading –not least for its coverage of Led Zep and the writings of Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent, Roy Carr etc.

It was when they secured the services of the aforementioned Kent and Murray from the underground press that NME really found its stride. The pair contributed some of the greatest rock writing of all time during the years 1973 -79. In depth features on the likes of Syd Barrett, Jim Morrison, Brian Wilson, Brian Jones, on the road reports with Bowie, The Rolling Stones and indeed Led Zep.

Some of their album reviews were also very memorable including Physical Graffiti, Dylan’s Blood On the Tracks, Exile on main street and Television’s Marquee Moon. The latter by Nick Kent spurred me to instantly purchase said album and his musings were spot on.

They were both a huge influence on my own ambitions to put pen to paper. I have been lucky enough to interview both of them for the TBL magazine and both were memorable encounters.

I have a fair few NMEs from that golden age and I often browse through them – they still hold up as definitive chronicles of the era.

In this social media driven world, it’s hard to understand how a music weekly could have such influence but the NME certainly did.

nme 3

I also have all the Led Zep NME cover story issues stored in the loft right from the first one in 1971 to the Jimmy Page cover interview story published the week of the first Knebworth in August 1979 through to last year’s Jimmy Page interview regarding the reissues.

Other Zep related NME links: In early 1978 Midland based punk band Dansette Damage recorded a track about the famous music weekly NME. It was recorded at the Old Smithy Studios in Kempsey, Worcestershire with Robert Plant and Zep sound man Benji Lefevre offering production and engineering assistance. Robert was billed as the Wolverhampton Wanderer and adds backing vocals at the close of the song. NME was issued as a single coupled with The Only Sound and is now a much sought after collector’s item.

Earlier this year Jimmy was the recipient of the Rock’N’Roll Soul Award at the NME Awards staged at London’s O2 Academy in Brixton – the award was handed out by Royal Blood who were voted Best New Band.

In recent years the NME has valiantly flown the flag as the only music weekly – whilst I have long since stopped buying it, I always had a look at it in the newsagents to see what it was championing.

This week’s final paid for NME is a special 130page best of edition with retro articles and reproduction of famous NME covers. It’s a grand way to bow out. The well-established NME website will continue to fly their flag and the free weekly music guide as its being billed will appear on September 18.

The paid for NME is now consigned to publishing history – and what an inspirational history it’s been.

Dave Lewis July 29, 2015.

………………………………..

 DL Diary Update:

tennis 3

tennis 2There was some respite from the TBL world on Monday afternoon when we indulged in a bit of tennis -alas the good lady Janet beat me 7-5 and Adam 6-2…I think a call to Andy Murray might be required…!

Have to say running around on the tennis court thinking I was 25 did not go down well with my ageing 59 year old frame as later I was in some agony having strained my thigh and hip badly. It’s eased a bit now though still sore. That will teach me to try and return Adam’s rather fearful serve!

Elsewhere there’s been planning on the Evenings With book including a Skype session with Mike Tremaglio.

On the player, plenty of Led Zep Madison Square Garden 1973 stuff acknowledging the 2nd anniversary of those celebrated gigs – notably a July 29, 1973 recording (thanks Paul S).

Over the weekend, I’ll be making the most of the arrival of the final three Led Zeppelin reissues. Keep an eye on the TBL Facebook page for updates on all of that…and enjoy this special weekend of Led Zeppelin outpouring…

Dave Lewis – July 31 , 2105.

………………

YouTube clips:

 Led Zeppelin Dortmund June 17 1980:


Jimmy Page Backstage Interview on iHeart :


 

Jimmy Page Interview The National:

Coda Unboxing:

Robert Plant joined by Joan Baez:


Until next time…

Have a great weekend

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –July 31, 2015 

If you are reading this and have yet to link with the Tight But Loose Facebook page be sure to request/add us. The TBL Facebook is another key part of the TBL set up with updated stories/additional pics etc to keep you on top of the world of TBL.

To view additional photos and TBL info be sure to hook up with the Tight But Loose Facebook page (add us as a friend) at

http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1611296783

 

 

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22 Comments »

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    St. Tristan’s Sword — Oh my goodness gracious.

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the new Led Zeppelin ‘In Through The Out Door’ Companion Disc by Ken Winovich 08/05/2015

    The ‘In Through The Out Door’ album period was a very somber period for me. Twice now, tragedy had struck one of the members of the band and quite honestly, fans wondered if there would even be a band at all back then. But kudos to Jimmy Page. He fought back very hard. After the first tragedy struck in 1975, he not only got the band to record a new album but he also threw himself into the film project and used any time left wisely to finish that. End result – double product in 1976! Enter the second tragedy with the death of Plant’s son. Unbeknownst to many Zep fans at that time, Page went through Zep’s cache of live tapes and approached the band about releasing them but the answer was no. Thankfully, eventually Robert recovered and the band recorded what we didn’t know at the time would turn out to be their last studio album. They survived the onslaught of punk if you want to even use that strong a term now thirty nine years later. But back in the late 70’s, punk was big. It was new. The punkers’ arrogance and disdain for all things conventional drew attention to them. The press focused on it esoecially their spiked hair. Plant’s accident on the Greek Island of Rhodes and then Plant’s son’s death were events that really challenged this band aside from the punk onslaught. Not to mention the backstage brawl in Oakland 1977. So there was this feeling in the air of trouble brewing in the zeppelin air space. Like vultures circling overhead. So when this album came out, it was a welcomed breath of fresh air! And it was cool! It came with six different front and back covers for a total of twelve. It came in a brown paper bag! The covers were in hi-def for the time and sepia toned. You could paint the inside sleeve! And the music was good. Plus we were all puzzled why the man at the bar and the bartender’s views were not show on lettered albums ‘G’ and ‘H’! I remember thinking how cool the intro of “In The Evening” was done with a new guitar gadget called a gizmotron and how clever it segued into the main riff. It was a lazy track but it had a heaviness to it. John Paul Jones really stands out on this album and it’s just great! It was a nice experimental album for the talents of Mr. Jones to be let loose. And I liked how Jimmy Page backed off on this album guitar-wise to let Jonesy shine a bit. He could have over-powered the songs with stronger guitar but kudos to Page for having just enough but never overdoing it. And that’s not to demean his playing. The wonderful ‘Hot Dog’ with t’is southern hoe-down finger picking was a thrill as was the dusty blues jamming on ‘Southbound Suarez’. After listening to the whole album I do remember feeling RELIEF. My favorite band was not ‘finished’ as recent rumors in the press said it was. Led Zeppelin were back again in late summer 1979 and better than ever! Word was already out about the warm-up shows in Copenhagen which were done to prepare the band for Knebworth ( a friend in the military said his friend was at the show and that’s how I found out about it) and when the reviews started coming in that the band kicked ass, my boys were back indeed! Back with a vengeance! All was well again. And again well was all. We fans didn’t have much up to that point other than the Concerts for Kampuchea which I did go to the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh to see and I remember getting a good ‘safe’ feeling that all was well with Robert and the band. When 1980 started off, we got word Zep were about to under take a European tour. About time I thought as they hadn’t been there in quite a while. I knew my boys would be back. The 80’s tour went pretty well but there were a couple dates where trouble occurred and Bonham collapsed. Had that tour been longer the end may have came all the quicker. I tried to get more information but it was hard. By now, a couple Zep fanzines were up and running and Zep info started to pour in. Nowhere near what it is today on a daily basis with the internet, Facebook and Twitter but you could get pretty good reports on a monthly basis from fans around the globe. And this is before the flood of books started to show up!

    Then the news we were all waiting for came in. Zep were going to do a tour of the US labelled ‘The 80’s:PART ONE’! Who wouldn’t have been floored by those choice of words! The dates were spelled out in a press release and I remember thinking how awesome these shows were going to be. The first thing I noticed was the doubling up of dates. Pittsburgh had two like it did in 1977 and I remember thinking that’s about to double yet again! Then, the sad news came and it hit like a tsunami. John Bonham was found dead at the home of guitarist Jimmy Page. The band had gathered to start rehearsing for the upcoming US tour. Immediately I knew it was over. And I remember my fellow drafting student in my drafting and design class. He lost his favorite band in Lynard Skynard and now I know how he felt. To hear these tracks will be somewhat painful as all of our hopes and the bands were riding high and then POW! The fatal blow was delivered. But also killed on that dreadful day of September 1980 was my hopes of ever seeing the band live. I started to think back how close I came with Knebworth and the 1977 US tour. My blunder was not sneaking down to the Civic Arena for that 2/1/75 show while grounded and I got upset. I would remain stunned and dazed for at least a good year and a half after Bonham’s death. It would take ‘Coda’ to snap me out of it which it did. What hurts is because these albums were released at the tail end of the band’s run, they won’t ever get the play as the others have. Because since 1971, I had been doing the Zeppelin marathon that Jack Black mentioned at the Kennedy Center Honors. My own hometown rock radio station WDVE would do Zeppelin marathons every time the band came here and so you start with’Led Zeppelin’ and would proceed to their current album. So Zep’s ‘I’ through ‘Houses’ got the most play by me. ‘Physical Graffiti’ was second. ‘Presence’ third but once John Bonham died, that was the end. It took me till the release of ‘Coda’ to snap out of it. I remember playing this album a ton prior to that. But it will never catch up to the playing time the others have had and that has to change. I like this album. It’s different. It’s melodic. It has a slumber as it moves along that is hard to describe. It’s not as ‘in-your-face’ as the others are and that can be a good thing when you are burned out from having your brain fried by those killer riffs and rhythm section from hell. So next time I need a break from the riffs and heavy Bonham stomp, I’m grabbing this album like I did with ‘Led Zeppelin III’. It was such a delight up until that fateful day in 1980. I can’t let Bonham’s death spoil it. I’ll be revisiting this one next month forever after. On to the companion music:

    IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR Companion Disc

    1. ‘In The Evening’ (Rough Mix) – The opening drone by Page using an effect called a Gizmotron is interesting as it’s raw and unprocessed! Even better, he turned the tape over to employ it backwards now that I’ve heard it played normal! Jimmy you little devil! The opening effect is shattering! The end result is it’s very eerie. As with many Zep songs, you couldn’t tell “Is he doing that with the violin bow? A volume pedal? A slide?” And it only get’s better! Bonham’s tympani drum rolls glide very nice across the soundscape from R to L as Plant starts to kick the track off! The vocals are very clear. Page’s guitar and Jones’s keyboard hook drive the song and the cool part is Bonham’s driving beat stands aside from the main track quite nicely. At 4-minute plus mark, Page pounds the Fender Stratocaster with his fist three times and it sounds like knocks at the door on the original release but is turned down on this one. On this reference mix, it’s subdued. Nice flute-like sound on the guitar making me think that’s a Les Paul overdub. But the real treat is the ‘Copenhagen 79’ + ‘Knebworth 79’ keyboard middle that we all know and love and to hear it on the opening track just gets this 9th album revisit party off and running! And yes I said party because that’s what all us hard core Zep fans have been doing is partying with these releases!

    2. ‘Southbound Piano’ (‘South Bound Saurez’) – Nice depth to the guitar far left. The piano accents sound superb. I like the raw guitar solo! It sounds blistering! Plant’s overdubbed “Oh so gewd!” lines sound better. This track is interesting as it’s the best example of a laid-back Jimmy Page who is not trying to blow out this piano album and I commend him for not overdoing any of the tracks on this album with guitar. He adds just the right accent touches without blowing out the track.

    3. ‘Fool In The Rain’ (Rough Mix) – You can tell this is a rough mix as the sound has more of a tunnel sound. Clearer detail can be heard on the accents which start around the 01:15 mark. The whistle’s in this rough mix! Likewise at 02:00. The keyboard John Paul Jones plays/Bonham xylophone (not sure of the instrument’s name) plays sound so cool in this mix. Pleasure hearing Bonham’s technical sticking and pow! Page’s MXR Blue effects pedal solo sounds more pronounced than the official mix and is a delight to hear.

    4. ‘Hot Dog’ (Rough Mix) – A very driving version. Page’s guitar chords play then pause which is not pronounced on the official release. Bonham’s stick taps are nice! My favorite track so far! More stick taps from Bonham as the song starts to wind to an end. A real treat!

    5. ‘The Epic’ (‘Carouselambra’ – Rough Mix) – Wow! A rough mix of this true ‘epic’ and we’re hearing Zeppelin ’79 style! This track is a mother to sing as there are so many words in each lyric phrase that you better gulp some huge amounts of air if you’re in a Zep tribute band. I lasted half way through the track on my recordings and finally called it quits after a train wreck. So this is a welcome companion track so I can revisit this one. Bonham is again a standout on yet another companion album and I finally realized how consistent and powerful a force in Led Zeppelin he actually was. For a drummer, he showed up for every single album and kicked butt and it continually shows! At 4:09, it’s such a sweet change of flavor! The official release sounds better as the track slows for the “Where would you help me’s” from Plant. The tremolo arpeggio chords played by Page are not as sonic as the official release which is without tremelo and the official release sounds chimier. Classic example of how Zeppelin polished off their tracks to perfection. A real joy to hear this and it’s thrown this companion disc into the more-than-satisfactory zone! The mood at 08:30 is interesting and changes the mood of the song briefly. Jones’s doodling on the Stevie Wonder Yamaha GX1 keyboard adds nice flavor and it’s brought out well in this rough mix! Very nice!

    6. ‘The Hook’ (‘All My Love’ – Rough Mix) – Bonham and Plant are front and center with Page nestled in the middle. Jones’s keyboards are turned down so the lyrics are clearer. But Page turns Jones up for his synth solo and it’s just superb! Page comes in with the nice flamenco acoustic and it’s just wonderful to hear! Can’t wait to hear the remaster as there are some strings in there I can’t wait to hear in polished form. The fade-out seems to extend a little longer. Very nice!

    7. ‘Blot’ (‘I’m Gonna Crawl’ – Rough Mix) – A fine Zeppelin track off ‘In Through The Out Door’ and as it starts I just fall in love with it all over again. It’s slow Sinatra-style vocal crooning sets the stage for Plant to talk about his woman. At 02:43 Page’s guitar solo starts and I smile as I can’t wait to hear it front and center. It’s one of his finest dusty-blues Les Paul toggle-in-the-middle guitar solos! A real pleasure hearing the da-da-da-da-dunts to hammer home the track! The rest of the band minus Plant play away but it’s Plant who’s got plenty of emotions to belt out after what all he’d been through. A fine ending to this companion disc and it’s also a winner! On to the remastered official album review not included here!

    In summary,

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

    Content: 4.8

    Audio: 5.0

    Satisfaction: 4.9

  • Ken Winovich said:

    1st Impressions of the new Led Zeppelin remastered ‘Presence’ album Super Deluxe Boxed Set by Ken Winovich 08/05/2015

    When I got my greedy little hands on the new Led Zeppelin ‘Presence’ Super Deluxe Boxed Set a few days before release date, I was ecstatic! Granted that I felt the Box color should have been white, I then realized how could the band highlight the original cover artwork? And who wanted yet another Box set like ‘Led Zeppelin III’ to have to be handled with extra-extra care? Last thing any Zep fan wants is to be cordoned off from enjoying a new release for the simple sake of preservation. The fact they chose a pale green doesn’t bother me. Turn the cover of the book and the brilliant pink leaps out at you! Did that upset me? Sort of. Till I turned another page and saw ‘The Object’ silhouetted against that! Fantastic! We did NOT get the full ‘Presence’ album in a different mix and that only means that was done to introduce a new unreleased track and what a gem it is! I am glad about that as we got one new track! The fact that it radically differs from the whole vibe of the official ‘Presence’ album doesn’t matter. Hey, we got it! That’s the beauty of these companion tracks. Not only could they be radically different from the official tracks which ‘Ten Ribs/Carrot Pod Pod’ is, we also get these original song titles as well which just adds to the enjoyment of it all. You can forget about this box set being ‘so close to the original songs that it’s pointless’ and this only adds to the mystique of this band. At times these new companion tracks eclipse the official tracks but then hearing the newly remastered original tracks in utter clarity and brilliance and all harmony is restored! What a project in these box sets. What an album. And they are made much better than the earlier releases having corrected problems of damage when in-transit to us. With this and all of the boxed sets, there’s plenty of Zeppelin eye candy and all of us hard core Led Zeppelin fans are just slapped silly with it all and it really makes us all feel young again because buying a Led Zeppelin album all those years ago when we were young was an exciting event! You could tell by the look on the faces of the record store salesmen. You could tell by your parents reactions. Suddenly you were walking around the house on a ‘high’ they couldn’t understand. “Why’s he so happy?” You certainly felt the frenzy and pandemonium of uncontrolled emotions within you. Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant was good at starving us. “Make ’em beg for more” and eventually they had us by the….(Whoa! Keep it clean!). So why is it that countless Zeppelin fans the world over continue to buy the same product over and over? Within a new ‘frame’ so to speak? It’s because it’s the best and also because no other albums, CD’s or tapes ever got played so much from our collections of music which obviously do contain other bands as well and that they had to be replaced because of wear and tear. Ask yourself how many times that’s ever happened in your collection of music outside of Led Zeppelins albums.

    Led Zeppelin have done it again. They have allowed us to get even closer to them. To go back in time to revisit their world. A front row seat during the production of yet another smash album. They leave no stone un-turned. These box sets are study guides to go along with the original releases which sadly look pale in comparison now to these new stacked box sets. Not only do the original releases ‘look’ pale in comparison next to the new releases but they also ‘sound’ pale in comparison as well. The newly remastered music sounds so fresh you would swear it was recorded yesterday. This all further adds to the legacy of Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was also about quality. No more flimsy warped albums. No more flimsy album jackets and sleeves. We’ll even put them all in a box for you. Fantastic! I suspect the August 1956 issues of National Geographic will start disappearing one by one on Ebay. It’s also interesting looking at the band members faces in the book. Current photos from the time the album was made and released back in 1975-76. You can see it in their eyes. “It was hell but we made it through” kind of look. The books show us that by the time ‘Presence’ came out, Led Zeppelin’s popularity had multiplied three or four-fold. Suddenly the demand for tickets was out of control. Riots were popping up in cities. How could any city anticipate this? Those that had experienced this before were ready but other cities were not. The band just continued to gain in popularity and all the way through to 2007 and beyond when the demands for the O2 concert tickets reached double digit millions for only 17,000 available seats! Unheard of. The ‘Presence’ book captures all of this and it’s great looking through the book, the time portal and capsule back to the hey days of Led Zeppelin. The whole project was a success and it helps that there was no shortage of companion material. And like the other packages, it’s going to take years to process all of this material. That’s the beauty of it. We finally have exact recording dates of the songs and their original working titles. The little boy on the companion cover looks ill with the green face. Must have ate something wrong. Another bands music left a bad taste in your mouth sonny? That’s his problem. There’s no shortage of material here and that just leaves all of us Led Zeppelin fans ‘speechless”!

    In summary, another fine job in this remastered boxed set series. These packages are huge and rightly so. They deserve that special place in any Zeppelin household and proudly sit there stacked higher than all the rest. Pillars of utter brilliance. To thoroughly investigate them and the material that lies within them will require an atmosphere of peace, serenity and privacy and we Zeppelin fans will make the time. Quality Zeppelin time for years to come. The sign of a very successful campaign! Enjoy!

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

    Content: 4.9

    Audio: 5.0

    Satisfaction: 4.9

  • Ken Winovich said:

    1st Impressions of the new Led Zeppelin ‘Coda’ Super Deluxe Boxed Set by Ken Winovich 08/05/2015

    Although the wait for this Super Deluxe Boxed Set tortured all of us fans for a year and a half, it’s apparently been well worth the wait! What one noticed about ‘Coda’ was that even Led Zeppelin’s ‘throwaway’ tracks for lack of a better word were better than all their competitors popular tracks. I didn’t say best but popular. In some cases it includes their best. ‘Coda’ was such an ice breaker for me back when it was released in 1982. When John Bonham died, every hard core Zep fan just went numb, then dead. I remember it well. You knew as soon as Bonham passed that it was the end of the band. That is if you listened to every bootleg you could get your hands on back then. Immediately one heard rumors that this or that drummer was going to replace Bonham. If you believed that, you never heard every bootleg. I pretty much ignored those news reports and would chuckle at the drummers name who was to replace Bonham. The time signatures and triple and quadruple fills he threw in live were expanding after 1971 and there seemed to be no end in sight and it was a thrill! He was the foundation or the glue that held the other three in such a tight vice grip, that they were all able to ‘cut loose’ on their individual own not having to worry about their timekeeper falling apart which is the case with all the rest of the bands and Zep could do this all within the confines of the sexy stomp beats Bonham laid down. A classic example of this is “Whole Lotta Love” live when the last “Wanna Whole Lotta Love” is sung. The rhythm section picks it up. Jones listens to Bonham’s beat then lays down the first bass doodles. Once that get’s going, Page and Plant can start weaving the vocals and theramin in, around, beneath, behind, up, over, under, sideways and down! And it’s just magic when they start really laying it down. That’s classic Zeppelin live. It’s Led Zeppelin that many everyday people never hear and that’s because they aren’t aware of the classic Zeppelin bootlegs. Their loss! If you are one of the jealous bands out there crying “Zeppelin again?”, no wonder and we know you don’t have the time because you are busy trying to get your band noticed which is impossible during n’new Zeppelin product’ periods. Good luck after this bonanza! But then there’s classic studio Zeppelin. That’s what got me hooked from day one. I remember my early Zeppelin years which were confined to studio releases only. And how well I remember 1976 and afterwards! It’s a shame. Some friends over the years would mumble “You need to get out of the past, man!” Bull-shit! “YOU need to listen to some Zep live bootlegs! All you know of is the official catalog! You need to hear the band live!” Me and MILLIONS around the globe all can’t be wrong. How I remember well folks younger than myself yelling out “who the hell is that? That’s awesome!” when the How The West Was Won was released. And if you are reading this and you are a Zep fan who’s only listened to their official releases, do yourself a favor and get a hold of every soundboard Zeppelin bootleg you can get your hands on for starters. Once you hear what they were doing live, you’ll want to hear the ‘magical’ nights on bootleg that even though the sound stinks you are completely floored. Boston 1969 is a classic example. But ‘Coda’ broke the ice and suddenly I was listening to Zeppelin again. The two tracks that did it for me were “Walter’s Walk” and “Wearing And Tearing”. Especially “Walter’s Walk”.

    This Super Deluxe Boxed Set and remastered release is really good. I expected the two Bombay tracks to appear on here once Jimmy Page said ‘there will be surprises’. But the big one is ‘St. Tristan’s Sword’. What also makes this package unreal is second helpings of ‘When The Levee Breaks (‘If It keeps On Raining’)’ and ‘In the Light(‘Everybody Makes It Through’)’. To tip the scale into a sure seller, we have the wonderful ‘Sugar Mama’ which enables us to burry that sloppy sounding bootleg. With it’s extra $20 higher price, I had no trouble paying it. This is the ‘gem’ of all the remastered super deluxe boxed sets! Contained within it’s box is a beautifully laid-out history of the band. From the final 12-4-80 memo announcing the band’s demise to the beautiful early group shot in color in the book! This one has it all. Coupled with Jimmy Page’s remastering of this music into hammered out fine gold, as a listener you get knocked out and are down for the count. What a way to finish this Zeppelin smorgasborg! I can easily say no other band…not even The Beatles or Pink Floyd….has delivered anything even close on par to this. From the sturdy reproduced albums with harder stock cardboard to the sturdier 180g vinyls to the arrival of cleverly designed companion albums…to the new ‘secrets-to-be-revealed’ companion tracks, this just has it all! My only gripe is the hardcover book seems thin which dropped the ‘Content’ rating a hair. It could have had more classic ‘career-spanning’ photos or momentos from the Swan Song office archives. My rating could have been 4.8 but seeings the alternate album art outtakes made it in the book, 4.9 works. What’s readily evident is my positive post-release feelings on this whole project now that all of the boxes are out. I came into this with high expectations placed on the companion discs but was blown away by the diamond polished lustre of the remastered music. I expected the books to have rejected album artwork and got even more with weekly itineraries of the band’s activities which I never expected. Couple all this with ‘we also give you CD format and HD Downloadable files’ and multiple configurations and you are left feeling totally satisfied. Something Led Zeppelin have been doing since 1968.

    ‘Coda’ as expected looked best in green! I like the companion black disc with orange and is very cool on the cover! ‘Coda’ is picking up the leftovers that didn’t make it on the first eight box sets: ‘Bring It On Home’ and ‘The Wanton Song’ with seconds of ‘When The Levee Breaks’ and ‘In The Light’ and who could argue with that? I knew if they came up short with material that they would officially put on the companion vinyl ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ and Travelling Riverside Blues’ and that’s because vinyl is so hot right now and I am glad they did. No ‘Swan Song’ instrumental was the only disappointment and I see it’s release coming in future ‘Zeppelin Time’ that John Paul Jones described. The other big disappointment is no ‘Lost In Space’. If John Paul Jones was not happy with his vocals, they could possibly have released the track as an instrumental. Since I can see that as a possibility on that ‘Record Store Day’ EP in the future, I’m over it. So with the vaults now supposedly cleared out and that’s a good thing as Page only releases the best, when the surviving band members pass on, Atlantic will probably put out a bunch of rush jobs to make a killing. But that’s not gonna be as marketable as they think since many of us are 10-20 years away from passing on ourselves. One things for sure, not many Zep fans have $$ for bootlegs right now so their industry has to be hurting. Their only hope is to come up with new shows and in a hurry because time is running out.

    Overall, this has been the best Led Zeppelin thing that’s ever happened to me. I got so into this remasters project that it will last at least a decade beyond 7-31-15 for me! There is so much material to process coupled with the new remastered sound. It’s all wonderful! Mothership???? How about Motherload! And I just got wind that Page is going to release Earl’s Court live soon. We Zeppelin fans are in euphoria. It’s like they’ve never been gone! Led Zeppelin’s compositional ability is the closest thing in rock to The Beatles but heavier with more punch. They have the ability to rock like the finest parts of a Swiss watch. The interplay between all four musicians is just phenomenal. This is highlighted on these remastered super deluxe box sets no matter where you look. They knew from day one that they had to be careful not to screw it up or stumble about. Their most difficult task with those in mind was how to let it just pour out. Plant’s voice has no bounds on any of the nine studio albums. Nobody hammers out a sexy dripping wet cut or hammer of the Gods battle cry better than Plant. He more than any other singer in rock re-wrote the textbooks on lead vocals. Page’s guitar can be described no better than utter string wizardry. How he summons up huge swells of utter brilliance is beyond me. He takes it far and beyond with the cunningest of production skills. Jones is as clever an arranger and composer as you’re ever going to get. He sures up every track with the finest bass and keyboard chops humanly possible as he and Page did for headline acts during their session days. Jones simply put…is rock solid no matter how he’s employed within this band whether track by track or album by album. Bonham just takes it from there up into the Stratosphere with his signature stomps. He was absolutely phenomenal on all nine albums from ‘Good Times Bad Times’ to ‘Wearing And Tearing’. He is the most consistent member of the band and his performance never dipped once from utter brilliance. This is why Led Zeppelin are second to none. Kudos to the band and Jimmy Page for giving us and the world even more evidence of their greatness. Thank You! Four musicians in utter harmony, balance and brilliance with a cocksure arrogance to leave any and all competition in the dust unopposed. We shall never see another like them.

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best:

    Content: 4.9
    Audio: 5.0
    Satisfaction: 5.0

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the new Led Zeppelin ‘Presence’ Companion Disc by Ken Winovich 08/05/2015

    When we first got the news that Jimmy Page was undertaking this colossal project, this was one of the albums I couldn’t wait to hear! Then we heard that there will be companion tracks thrown in for good measure. And good measure indeed! This album was so full of energy and power and that was due in part to Robert Plant’s unfortunate accident on the Greek Island of Rhodes. I suspect this companion album might be the one I really spend hours going over well into the future because there’s just no messing about on this record. The fact the original had no acoustic tracks on it which was a first-ever for Zeppelin tells the story. This is a stripped down version of the final original product and what it shows quite clearly is how Jimmy Page adds that finishing touch to tracks and albums overall that make them the great masterpieces that they would become. He knows at all times where he wants the tracks to go and that’s the beauty of these companion albums. They show you snapshots from various vantage points along the way to the finished product and they are just such a joy to hear. This was a very difficult time for the band as they’d never had to deal with any near-death experiences other than that shaky airplane flight to Germany in 1970. So what do you get when you take a ‘heavy’ band like Led Zeppelin known as THE BEST at killer riffing and fate deals a near fatal blow to one of it’s members? Why ‘Presence’ of course. Laying my favorite tracks of ‘Achilles Last Stand’, ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ and ‘Royal Orelans’ aside, I study the remaining tracks. ‘For Your Life’ continues to grow on me every year and it’s now teetering on the verge of becoming a ‘hit’ to place on that must-have Zeppelin hit list we fans all jostle with in deciding “What’s their best stuff?” as the years go by. What another bold move it was to start the album off with a long track ala ‘In My Time Of Dying’ and that’s a thought to entertain in itself. Imagine ‘Physical Graffiti’ starting off with ‘In My Time Of Dying’! ‘Achilles Last Stand’ just slays and you are left undecided as to which band member slayed you on that track the most. Was it Jimmy Page or John Bonham? I honestly cannot decide. Who cares! They both put in a stellar performance. There’s no ‘Tea For One’ companion track on here but that’s only because to get an unreleased track, something’s got to give. This album was a challenge for Led Zeppelin under the circumstances from which it was made. I wouldn’t wish that auto accident on anybody but it’s weird. Somehow because of it, we have this unique offering and just about desperate album that emerges from the ashes of Zeppelin’s first string of bad luck and it’s unique, very different but also colossal. This companion album is going to take years to go over to fully comprehend what the backbone of this music entailed. On to the companion tracks:

    PRESENCE Companion Disc

    1. ‘Two Ones Are Won’ (‘Achilles Last Stand’) – Page’s guitar army is about half assembled with some overdubs not yet added on at this point. So it’s a real treat especially when you consider this track is one of the best of their legacy. We get to hear Bonham’s thunderous beat and when coupled with Page’s guitar chords makes for a nice Zeppelin hyponotic track ready to change with added dynamics. Great to hear Page’s guitar solo unmixed yet and raw. You can almost feel the sense of urgency almost as if Mick Jagger has just walked into the control booth and ready with “Wrapping up the first track Jimmy?” Page: “No. We’re just about done with the album. Can we take two more days?” This gem is the one we have all been waiting for with this album and it’s a real treat. Nice blend of Plant overdubbed vocal “Hold the Heavens from the Earth”. Bonham and Jones are very tight with the rhythm section and they provide the perfect canvas for Page and Plant to ‘Zeppelinize’ another track into a smash hit! This is classic hit Zeppelin with killer guitar and Greek God wail vocals backed by a hammer of the Gods rhythm section. Nobody else in rock comes even close to it. The ending “ah..uh…ah!’s are awesome as the track is brought to a close. The guitar ending does not yet have that ‘casting-a-spell’ Page vibe to it. Great to hear this ‘almost finished’ stage of the track.

    2. ‘For Your Life’ (Reference Mix) – Missing the starting vocal overdub. The lyrics are clear and easy to understand and not lost in the mix. There’s reverb added on the drums. The guitars do not go up in key as Plant’s vocals get higher and higher until later by a verse. A great Plant-Bonham showcase track with a nice low bottom bass from Jones. Nice to hear Robert’s snorkles crystal clear.

    3. ’10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)’ [PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED] – A very nice ‘No Quarter-ish live-at-Earl’s-Court-’75’ tune. Jones takes his time to establish a nice blissful mood. However nice, there’s no way this music would have fit with the overall ‘Presence’ mood Jimmy Page describes for this album due in part to Plant’s auto accident. Page slowly works in the electric guitar and Bonham comes in. An acoustic guitar irks the track along to the finish. The nearest Zeppelin track one can compare it to is in the flavor of ‘Ten Years Gone’ and knowing that, it’s still interesting and one wonders what gem this might have blossomed into ala ‘Ten Years Gone’ flavor.

    4. ‘Royal Orleans’ (Reference Mix) – Starts with Bonham’s “three..four”. This is John Bonham on vocals. You can hear this same style vocal growl during the live shows when he and Plant would get into a back-and-forth. It would be Bonham on vocals if Plant was having difficulty getting to the studio after the accident and still on crutches. The lyrics are clearer and not washed out like the official mix.

    5. ‘Hots On For Nowhere’ (Reference Mix) – Separation of guitar and vocal is much better. Especially Plant’s “Let me tell ya….if it feels so right well it must be right for my baby”. The “oh-oooh-oh-ho’s” are clearer. Plant’s “oh-oooh-ho-oooh-ho” at the very end was a real treat!

    In summary, a must-have for Zeppelin fans. Believe it or not, this album kept Led Zeppelin alive. Their heartbeat perhaps fading because of Plant’s accident, Led Zeppelin quickly rebounded at the round of applause must go to Jimmy Page. He seized the moment under very scary circumstances and managed to pound out this album and the ‘Song Remains The Same’ movie. When I think back on it I just don’t know how he did it. He alone got Led Zeppelin through it’s first dark period. Unbeknownst to us all at the time, this bad luck period would be followed up with more. And the courage of Robert Plant to rebound deserves honorable mention as well. This band had plenty on it’s plate at the time and they came through with flying colors! It easily outperforms expectations and that makes this companion album a gem.

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best: 4.9

    Content: 4.8

    Audio: 5.0

    Satisfaction: 4.9

  • Ken Winovich said:

    Review of the new Led Zeppelin ‘Coda’ Companion Disc by Ken Winovich 08/05/2015

    When I saw that the Led Zeppelin ‘IV’ and ‘Houses Of The Holy’ companion albums had no new unreleased tracks, I knew ‘Coda’ was going to have to be the one! And it is! At that time, the big surprise then was that we were all wondering if ‘Physical Graffiti’ would thus have two companion discs. When that didn’t happen, I thought “so much for two companion discs the rest of the way” and I explained in my ‘Physical Graffiti’ review that even if ‘Physical Graffiti’ did have two, I might not have played the second companion disc as much as the first. That’s not because the second ‘Physical Graffiti’ companion album would not be as good as the first. Not with ‘In The Light’, ‘Ten Years Gone’ and ‘The Wanton Song’ kicking around! It’s because the hypnotic ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Trampled Under Foot’ stomper are so damn good that the human body just can’t get past them. So then it didn’t bother me as much when ‘Physical Graffiti’ only had one companion disc. But when the rumors leaked out end of May 2015 that ‘Coda’ will have three discs, I knew this was one of the surprises Jimmy Page had in store for us! What I really like about this double wollop to end the final party is it’s also packed with some companion track revisits that I have no complaints with! I really wanted to hear more of ‘When The Levee Breaks’ and ‘In The Light’ with a companion ‘Bonzo’s Montreux’, ‘Walter’s Walk’ or ‘The Wanton Song’ tracks thrown in for good measure and that was the case! This really made my day! The other surprise is ‘Sugar Mama’ has finally come out and that’s just wonderful. We finally get official ‘album’ vinyl releases of ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ and ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’ and to fill in any precious acetate real estate that’s left, we’re treated to the experimental Bombay tracks of ‘Four Sticks’ and ‘Friends’ (which in retrospect was an actual ‘preview’ if you will of the ‘Page/Plant’ project in the future!). The left-off companion track from Led Zep II of ‘Bring It On Home’ was probably bumped off the second companion album to make room for ‘La La’ and so it’s on here and that just throws this package to perfection, even better than the original ‘Coda’ release! I thought to myself “Pagey couldn’t possibly get away with this!” Putting more tracks on the ‘Coda’ companion disc than the original! No way. Not possible. But indeed he has! So caveat emptor! You are about to get hit with a nice ‘mini history’ of Led Zeppelin on this final double companion disc. And while you’re reminiscing, the hardcover book includes more photos spanning their entire career for your perusal. I’m not surprised. Again, Zeppelin’s penchant for quality. What really stood out over Zeppelin’s career was how clever they were at introducing new songs off their latest albums into the live set which had to be a real headache in and of itself because their live sets during any of their nine studio albums had no shortage of material. Led Zep and it’s curator Jimmy Page have now brung this fantastic remasters two-year bonanza to a close with a fine finishing kick! This ‘Coda’ disc is the ‘coup de gras’ Zeppelin fans have been waiting for who were long suffering on like a dog waiting for the final scraps of a meal to fall from a dining room table during clean-up time! ‘St. Tristan’s Sword’ is the icing on the cake for those hard core Zeppelin blood hounds who still have room for desert! If you had any doubts that the band haven’t tidied up all studio loose ends, this ‘Zep IV’ companion track is a thrill and it was added on here so there was no tarnishing of the perfection of ‘Zep IV’. What a wonderful compilation of companion material and it completes the doubling of the official canon of Zeppelin material. It’s going to take years to process all of this. Hard core Zep fans don’t just put a Zeppelin album on during the weekend to brighten up their day. We actually study the compositions to death under a microscope because there’s no finer specimen to study than Led Zeppelin! I suspect the ‘Coda’ hardcover book will be a walk front-to-back through their entire career and it is! I now place this double companion album up there with ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ and ‘Physical Graffiti’ as one of their finest offerings. There’s only a few tracks we didn’t get companion tracks for like ‘The Lemon Song’ and when coupled with ‘Swan Song’ and ‘Sunshine Woman’, Page and Zep definitely have a ‘choice’ for material for that final future ‘Record Store Day’ EP that Jimmy Page hinted about. Are you Zep fans upset that it could take up to five years to get it? I know I’m not. John Paul Jones’s comment about ‘Zeppelin time’ completely rings true here. There’s just so much work to be done years down the road with these newly remastered discs and companions that the time will pass quickly when the EP finally arrives. But if it’s ‘companion-tracks-of-official-tracks’ vs ‘never-before-unheard-of’ companion tracks, we’ll take the latter of course! This double companion album just hammers home this whole remasters project and sures it up if there were still any doubts! Jimmy Page has pulled off an amazing hat trick which deserves a standing ovation and thunderous round of applause (a ‘hat trick’ occurs when a hockey player scores three goals in a single game which shouldn’t happen often and the audience shows their appreciation by tossing their hats down onto the ice) – Page now having 1) remastered the official canon to the finest detail 2) doubling our Zeppelin collections in just under two years when this originally took twelve years to do! 3) properly clearing out the studio vaults of unreleased Zeppelin gems worthy of release! Whew! Sounds utterly impossible. Give this chore to Taylor Swift, Madonna, Metallica or even Prince to do and your guess is as good as mine as to what the outcomes might be. As for Jimmy Page saying “I bet people get tired of me talking about these remasters” comments recently – actually Jimmy, no we do not! I could spend weeks if not months listening to Page or any of the surviving band members on how they came up with these masterpieces because magazine interviewers just don’t cut it. Page and his band mates really needed to do a book on ‘The Making of Led Zeppelin’ focusing on all of it’s ten official albums. Pure and simple. Covering everything. Start to finish. With no fluff. ‘Cause we just don’t get enough. In essence, that’s why this remasters project with companion tracks and hardbound books were done. To give us a clearer picture. A behind-the-scenes look from the band members themselves. From embryo to finish. I can remember salivating over the ‘Guitar Player’ 1977 issue or the three part ‘Trouser Press’ issues back in the late 70’s. I re-read those at least ten times apiece during release. I craved every scrap of detail on how this band created these masterpieces of rock! On to the companion tracks by breakdown before this review turns into a book:

    ‘CODA’ Companion Disc #1

    1. ‘We’re Gonna Groove’ (Alternate Mix) – John Paul Jones’s bass really growls here and it adds a nice effect to the track. Reminds me very much of Rush’s ‘By-Tor And The Snow Dog’ or vice-versa depending on how you analyze who’s track came first (‘By-Tor’ was released in 1975 but Zep’s “We’re Gonna Groove’ didn’t come out until 1982 yet it was recorded in 1969). Page’s guitar solo is slightly different with a flurry of notes. A very nice pick scrape in there! But Bonham is the star on this track! A strong Jones synth note ends the song.

    2. ‘If It Keeps On Raining’ (‘When The Levee Breaks’ – Rough Mix) – Although I would have preferred a ‘raw’ bombastic embryonic drum track of this, to hear Plant running through this early version was an equal thrill! Wow! I’m speechless. The way it starts off with the lead-in bass makes this gem a heavy hitter on these final companion discs.

    3. ‘Bonzo’s Montreux’ (Mix Construction In progress) – Wow! A nice raw mix of this classic Bonham track with all the finished polishing. It just gets better as it moves along as the tympani come in. The electronic treatments give you that same ‘tin-cans-boucing-off-the-tail-bumper-of-a-car-after-the-bride-and-groom-speed-off-to-their-wedding-reception’ feel! This is unreal! I find I prefer this version to the original official one! Because it is sonically loaded with drums! But that might be a rush to judgement as I need to hear the remastered track and the downloads aren’t available yet. So much to process on this one and it’s up there with ‘In My Time Of Dying’ remastered! I hate to say it but Zeppelin bootleg sales have got to be hurting as it’s going to take years to digest all of this and our bank account balances left for bootlegs is nil!

    4. ‘Baby Come On Home’ – Jimmy Page’s tremelo guitar effect is accentuated very nice as are the keyboards. Very hard to believe this is a 1968 recording from Zep’s early formative stage. Plant sings this song with confidence, hammering home his pleas for his woman to come home and we get to see that from the very start with the multi-talented John Paul Jones. He alone is the glue that reinforces the band whenever it decides to turn in various directions from the heavy rock riff palette and if there is one Zep band member who’s contributions to this band are showcased, it is JPJ. But even then, Bonham steals the show.

    5. ‘Sugar Mama’ (Mix) – A real treat! Is it me or does this sound so fresh…almost as if it couldn’t have possibly been recorded back in the fall of 1968? That’s probably due to the crappy sounding bootleg we’ve had to struggle with all these years and even so, we could see this was a great track. Nice driving beat with a tricky Bonham drum beat in the middle which he plays all alone in silence and it just leaves you breathless! Another classic example of a Zeppelin left-over track out-performing other bands’ official music. The Tremelo effect on the guitar is done well and delay was also added on to the tail end of Plant’s phrases as well! One of the strongest tracks on this companion disc! It’s embryonic Zeppelin as fine as you’re going to get!

    6. ‘Poor Tom’ (Instrumental Mix) – I can hear that squeeky hi-hat again and no wonder! ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ was recorded around the same day as this! Page’s acoustic 12-string is just so sweet that I almost get the feeling it’s Bert Jansch or Davey Graham playing. No offense Jimmy but their acoustics seemed to stand out better…that is until I heard this track! Must be that Altair tube limiter! A superb gem but it sounds even shorter without the lyrics.

    7. ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’ (BBC Session) – Nice ‘nasally’ overall slide-guitar vibe the tone of which is hard to describe. Was this possibly recorded with a resonator guitar and slide? The BBC’s handling of this recording is noticeably poor as everything is too centered. Shame it’s not sonically spread out like a normal Zep track recording. Nevertheless, it’s a powerful track and is a nice breath of fresh air when you need a break from the riffers!

    8. ‘Hey, Hey, What Can I Do’ – Very sweet! Reminds me of the 45 Immigrant single when I first played this b-side! But without the annoying cracks and pops! Wow! This is just so fine! The mandolin and strings sound so clear and when you finally hear a Bonham cymbal crash resonate for 7 to 9 seconds, it just doesn’t get any better!

    CODA Companion Disc #2

    1. ‘Four Hands’ (‘Four Sticks’ – Bombay Orchestra) – A 1972 preview of what would later transpire in 1994-95 after the death of John Bonham. This is in the flavor of the Page/Plant tours with Engyptian ensemble and it’s so nice to hear. A flute plays the middle keyboard section and it’s so delicate and fine that it’s the centerpiece of the track. The Indian musicians build up the middle section climax and the tablas and they really stand out. An instrument plays the Najma Akhtar vocal part from the Page/Plant ‘No Quarter’ DVD and you almost think it’s her! A real treat to kick off companion disc number two!

    2. ‘Friends’ (Bombay Orchestra) – Page’s 12-string acoustic stands out very nice combined with killer tabla and it’s another fine version of Zeppelin World Music Page/Plant style! Plant sings the lyrics in a very different style. These tracks were a worthy experiment by Page and Plant.

    3. ‘St. Tristan’s Sword’ (Rough Mix) – I’ve waited and hoped for decades for this one ever since Dave Lewis informed us of this tracks existence and that this baby would get released ‘some day’ and here it is! A killer riff! This is unreal! It’s guitar solo is reminiscent of ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’. Highly possible this was an embryonic OTHAFA which would mean it was first developed during ‘Zep IV’. But since OTHAFA is not in parenthesis, then Jimmy simply moved that guitar solo over to the ‘Houses Of The Holy'(album). The track comes flying out of the gate with a killer Jones bass riff and Bonham finesse. Page super charges the riff and we have another Zeppelin classic in the making! I can only imagine what sexy lyrics Plant would have penned for this one! Reminds me of one of Page’s
    riffs from the ‘Death Wish II’ movie soundtrack. The guitar solo starts off with hints of ‘The Immigrant Song’ guitar solo live then transforms into OTHAFA live from the SRTS. Talk about a PERFECT theme song for the new Mission Impossible movie! Fantastic!

    4. ‘Desire’ (‘The Wanton Song’ – Rough Mix) — This is a nice raw ‘The Wanton Song’. The lyrics are very clear and confirm doubtful lyrics we couldn’t hear. The riff is not as tight as the final official release. The chord change is so sweet. The standout is Bonham’s beat and as we all know this is a classic example of the Zeppelin trademark stomp! The clavinet and keyboards are very strong with some very nice Page chords to bring the song to the start of the closeout. Bonham’s cymbals stand out. What a treat! Fries all the bootleg versions! Plant’s “Wooooooo” at the very end is nice and raspy!

    5. ‘Bring It On Home’ (Rough Mix) – Who could argue with this track or ‘The Lemon Song’ being bumped in order to get ‘La La’ onto the second Zeppelin remastered album companion disc? But Page didn’t forget it and it’s just wonderful that it appears on this ‘Coda’ companion release. Does not include the acoustic slow muted blues beginning. Right off the cuff, the entire band comes in with killer Plant harmonica leading the way. Bonham does an 8-tap after a few verses and it just kicks! Very nice, raw and powerful! I prefer the subdued harmonica alongside the muted acoustic beat but it’s still very nice to hear this powerful gem. It would have been a shame never to have heard this! Bonham does another long tap which is a preview of the 77 tour!

    6. ‘Walter’s Walk’ (Rough Mix) – One of my all-time favorite Zeppelin riffers and to hear it approaching polished perfection in instrumental form just throws me into a tizzy! This groove is so tight that it slams Led Zeppelin even further high up from their competitors. Hence the ‘Nothing else compares’ comments we see posted and it’s with tracks like this and ‘Trampled Under Foot’ that anyone can see why. This companion track and many of them on this offering just elevate the Zeppelin experience all the more. Very fine snare from Bonham. CLASSIC Zeppelin stomp! It sounds like the insturmental bootleg version we all know but mixed in polished gold! The guitar stops and you’re just smothered in John Bonham! Fantastic! I would love to sample that for about ten minutes! Holy F@#&! What a stomp!

    7. ‘Everybody makes It Through’ (‘In The Light’ – Rough Mix) – I can remember back to June 2014 with the first three releases and saying “Wow! This remastered material is just awesome! “How on Earth are we all going to deal with companion versions of ‘When The Levee Breaks’, ‘Trampled Under Foot’, ‘Kashmir’ or ‘In The Light’ let alone with remastered tracks of each of these as well once they all come out?” I couldn’t wait to hear them. Well here it is! A rough mix of ‘In The Light’ that we’ve all been waiting for with that classic Moog synth from Jones! Complete with background drone. The real surprise is that it contains the different lyrics with a descending harp keyboard lick. Nice different flavor and this is one of the gems on these companion discs! It’s the official version but with different lyrics and it’s just so sweet! It’s the PERFECT ‘in-between’ version to play with the ‘Physical Graffiti’ companion track and the final official version! And Pagey will pull this off again with another ‘When The Levee Breaks’ companion track! Fan-tastic! Kudos to Jimmy Page for offering up seconds (key companion tracks) as well! I feel like I’ve just left the Page/Zep households having been invited over for dinner and my host fed me all the food, wine and desert I ever could have asked for. Unbelievable. Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin never disappoint. Thank you!

    In summary, this companion duo is probably going to destroy all the others as I have it right up there alongside ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ and ‘Physical Graffiti’ and these discs easily surpass the original ‘Coda’ album! But I still need to listen to ‘Presence’ and ‘In Through The Out Door’ but it’s gonna be hard to top this dynamic duo!

    Scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best: 5

    Content: 5.0
    Audio: 5.0
    Satisfaction: 5.0

  • VHP said:

    Martin FK,

    Nice words. I am also a 64 model year and remember buying ITTOD on its day of release & reading the Knebworth reviews in Sounds music newspaper that year. I also remember they gave ITTOD a lowly 2/5. I also remember the buzz in the music business prior to its release. Along with the Knebworth shows it was a very August.

    I too remember hearing about John’s death. It was on the newspaper billboards around B’ham city centre as I traveled home from work – something like “does the death of the drummer mean the end of the Midlands supergroup” and the story was front page new in the Evening Mail. Sad day indeed, and I also agree with Robert for looking forward with his music, but when they did do the O2 show I was so glad that my friend won a pair of tickets and kindly gave me the chance to go with her.

    I remember those mono cassette players too. I would also like to than my Cousin for allowing me to grow up from about the age of 11 listening to Dark Side of the Moon, Made In Japan & Zep 4. Not a bad choice for cutting your rock teeth on. Its fair to say that those 3 albums changed the musical life for ever.

    Dave Lewis, great work as ever, & keep practicing at the Tennis.

  • Andy J said:

    I have to admit, I never really liked “In Through the Out Door”. It just didn’t seem quite “Zep” to me. So, after listening to the newly released “Presence” and its companion disc, which I enjoyed very much, I was not really looking forward to ITTOD. Having listened to disc 1 my feelings were partially confirmed. It still did not have that Zeppelin feel to it, although the sound quality was improved. Almost out of duty I put on the companion disc, and then… I just couldn’t believe it. Every track on the second disc is better than the original. Even more so, the album has a rawer feel, with the keyboards toned down a bit and the guitars up to 11. Even “Hot Dog” was likeable. In particular, “In the Evening” blows the socks off the original, as does “Carouselambra” IMO. It was like hearing a new Zep album for the first time. The feel of the album is more akin to “Presence” I think, a bit more raw and stripped down.I believe that this is how the album should have been released back in ’79. The original seems over-produced with keyboards much to prevalant. This release justifies the whole remasters programme and I think that this version is the one I will always listen to going forward. Remarkable.

  • MartinFK said:

    These reissues have been a extreme pleasure. Being born in’64, by the time i found my life’s musical direction most of the albums were already released, i was only ‘there’ for ITTOD and Coda. I remember vividly purchasing both albums, and i remember being glued to the radio on Aug 4th and 11th, what for I’m not quite sure, there may have been a mention i don’t remember, but this was a world event after all. Traumatically, I remember the news of John Bonham’s death breaking. I would have been about 16, our craftwork teacher read it from the Daily Express of all places. Then i knew it was all over. i was so totally desolate. I hadn’t experienced the loss of anyone close before, and these Gods were so close and i grieved deeply. I have never clamoured for reunions, and i’m glad the reunions haven’t really happened. Music is always about the here and now, and i never believed any reincarnation of Zeppelin could come close to the magic spell that was broken in 1980 when John died.
    The music that Robert Plant has created has been so special, and i absolutely applaud his resolution in looking forward and being part of the now. And i really hope Jimmy does have new music, i suspect he needs it as much as we do.
    So, opening these albums has been like opening a dusty trunk in the attic. I’ve listened to this music incessantly over the years, and it has always been extraordinary. For me though these reissues have been so much more than the music, the ‘extras’ are in large part interesting curios, interesting, enjoyable, insightful but never essential. What has been far more important is the slavish attention to detail in the packaging, the booklets, the sleeve detail and recreation. It’s details like the brown paper bag sleeve, the spinning disc, the beautifully recreated windows of PG, and so much more. Seeing the same photos from the Presence cover once again is like time travel to a distant past.
    Whilst the newcomer will surely find much to enjoy in immersing themselves for the first time, they must be missing so much because this reissue journey has been so much more than just the music. I first listened to pretty much all the music (and yes, and deep purple and so much more) on a horizontal mono cassette player with a a handle at the front that had worse sound reproduction than a couple of coke cans and string. I of course got the Vinyl shortly after as my overdraft deepened to accommodate, but I never returned to Vinyl after the CD jewel cases which were pretty grim.
    And Dave, I feel like you have been a personal guide, so thanks.
    I’m not sure this is the last to come, so what could be next? What ever it is I’ll be there, and i’ll be looking for you, Dave, to give me the heads up before it arrives.

  • Ed Bliss said:

    Well said VHP. My thoughts entirely; come on Jimmy, if you say you’re gonna do it, do it!

    And just who IS singing on the Companion Disc Royal Orleans? Does anyone know for sure? Bonzo? JPJ? Robert? (And shouldn’t Dr. John now do the decent thing and do a cover of it?)

  • valerie said:

    Half full? You must be joking

  • VHP said:

    Regarding Jimmy’s quote in the above piece “I’ll pick up the guitar, and I won’t stop from that point on.”

    Well I really hope that Jimmy “does” something this time now the reissues are all done and its not another shaggy dog story.

    Do an internet search and this quote came up from November 2006 from Zep’s induction to the UK Music Hall of Fame – “Page mentions plans to record some new material next year: “I’m going to start up in the New Year. It’s an album that I need to get out of my system… there’s a good album in there and it’s ready to come out.”

    I believe he also said in 2009 that he would be recording & touring in 2010 and that didn’t happen either. Yes, I know he had been busy with the remasters and the 02 DVD all of which are great, but the O2 is is only full length concert in – what is it now – about 12 years, and no all new material since 1998 CD with Robert.

    Come on Jimmy, If you are going to play live this year (as you said in January) then stop dangling the carrot and do it, whether its with a full band or an evening of Jimmy plays acoustic – I don’t care, but there are lots of fans who have never (unlike me) had the chance to see you live. Please though, keep it to smaller venues, I would hate to see the O2 or NEC Arena (or what ever its now called) half full.

  • Valerie said:

    If It Keeps On Raining is incredible. I can’t get enough

  • Jim Long said:

    I’ve listened to St. Tristan’s Sword about 40 times so far. It’s awesome!

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Waited for HMV Newcastle to open from 8.20am until 8.59am and got told off by the staff for ducking underneath the ascending shutter, such was my eagerness. In The Evening was just starting up as I entered the store, and within ten minutes I’d managed to find the mintest, non-creased, non-bumped copies of each deluxe edition.

    Remember buying these three albums on vinyl in March and November 1987, and January 1988 as a Zep-obssessed teenager. Still the soundtrack of my life 28 years later…

  • YrLic said:

    I was in grade 8 and totally mesmerized by WLL, so I bought LZ II. Shortly thereafter, my birthday scored LZ I and III. then, at XMAS, I got LZ IV and HOTH. All stacked, I was in heaven for the next year or so. I was the first one at my school to pick up PG when it was released. When Presence came out, I was disappointed at first, but it grew on me. Achilles was a trip, and I was hooked by Candystore Rock and Tea for One. This was a very long time ago. I’ve been a Zep fan all these years, and now I’m stacked with these re-masters and back in heaven – swimming in the superb music brought to us by the four lads.
    Thank You !

  • Chris Cook said:

    Is that “Walking on the Moon’ by The police that Plant was singing? I guess so. It’s cool that he has always had his ears open.

  • Ian Avey said:

    Read your review this morning which was great and really set the scene nicely for the delivery I was awaiting for from Amazon…

    Having played everything first impressions are that ITTOD sounds so much clearer and less muddy than previous issues. Some of the mixes at first listen don’t sound dramatically different until side 2. Carouselambra (The Epic) sounds much clearer and nice that you can hear guitars and vocals more clearly now that the keyboards are less prominent.

    ’10 Ribs’ was reminiscent for me of the JPJ No Quarter live improvisations, and then it all kicked up a gear and sounded more like Ten years gone. Incredible!

    St Tristan’s sword was not at all what I expected. I was expecting more of a No Quarter brooding piece. It reminded me more of an OTHAFA live improvisation.

    I now need to go and play everything again!

  • The Old Hermit said:

    Great review and nice article about Over Europe 1980, and poignant too; there seemed such high spirits at the time and genuine optimism about the future… little did they know, little did Bonzo know in less than three months he would be gone.

    The remastering campaign has been an enormous success all round, kudos to Jimmy for a job well done, now take a day off, you’ve earned it Mr Page, but back to work on Monday morning :-).

  • Dave M said:

    Just picked up my three de-luxe re-issues (slumming it, I’m afraid) at HMV Newcastle before work.

    Fool In The Rain was playing on the store PA, much like it was when I picked up the original ITTOD a scary 36 years ago in the same shop.

    Looking forward to a weekend wine/Zepfest…

  • paul aspey said:

    Maybe Jimmy will invest in a new leather jacket now the money is rolling back in
    Your tales of what these last three albums meant to you at the time of release and since make for very interesting reading , I thought I had written it at one point
    keep up the fantastic work you do for all of us

  • Steve A. Jones said:

    The ramblings of a bandwagon fan. Just put a Kajagoogoo single on and get on with it.
    Seriously though, this is a very thoughtful feature you have shared with us.

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